India-China relations have seen a major jolt because of Chinese aggression and its policies that show China’s imperialistic and dominating nature not only towards India but also towards the other neighboring countries.
China and India, the two biggest civilizations are parts of Asia that are progressing at a huge pace. These two represent the world’s two largest and powerful economies. These have become new trendsetters concerning international relations. According to the World Bank estimates, China and India have already become respectively the second and fourth-largest economies of the world surpassing developed countries. However, in recent times, India-China relations have seen a major jolt because of Chinese aggression and its policies that show China’s imperialistic and dominating nature not only towards India but also towards the other neighboring countries. Chinese dream to overtake the United States and become the world’s superpower by 2049 is on the verge to face its shattering. The centennial of China’s Communist revolution has polarized the world again and the era of the cold war has begun. The main reason for contention between Indo-China relations, in recent times, is India’s healthy relationship with the US.
Chinese Aggression in recent times is creating global panic among all the nations. China is following the Silent Rise Policy since 1978. The dependency of other countries on China has become one of the strongest points for China to dominate not only India but also other countries. This aggression and rage has increased after the global crisis had taken place. There are several dimensions through which the aggression of China can be understood by focusing on pre-Covid-19 and post-Covid – 19 World and India.
India and China share a strained relation because of the Sino-Indian war in 1962 and Chinese possession of the Aksai Chin area of the Ladakh region of J&K. Chinese recent aggression at Galwan Valley in Ladakh, near the Line of Actual Control (LAC), has turned Indo-China relations into an ultra-critical position. The violent stand-off between border troops of India and China was not a coincident but was a planned strategy by China. China indirectly had forced India to follow its dictatorship. China wrongly interpreted India’s sentiments and eventually got humiliated worldwide for its aggression. Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) miscalculated India’s growing power and strength both internally and externally. This miscalculation was two-pronged, firstly, to frighten India, and secondly, to avoid investigation of the actual origin of Corona virus for which India raised the voice. China was conscious about the fact that India would become the Chairman of the WHO’s Executive Board on 22nd May 2020 and it will give India the chance to investigate the actual origin of Corona virus. Moreover, it will have to accept the dominance of India in the region.
The recent concern of India is the growing influence of Chinese military and economic power on the Indian Subcontinent. China’s realized that its road map of 2049 to become the superpower can’t be achieved without its dominance in the Indian subcontinent and especially dominance over India. Therefore, China initiated the One Belt One Road (OBOR) Strategy in 2013 for reaching out to Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East and wanted India to be part of it. The Chinese dream got shattered by India’s refusal to join this project. Since then China’s strategy was to oppose India at every step. China has taken strong actions against India at the United Nations many times whether it was about UNSC membership or Pakistan’s terrorist activities.
Chinese strategy of negotiation and back-stabbing is another contention of a healthy relationship between the two countries. On one hand, China wants economic domination over India and on the other it supported cross border terrorism of Pakistan and engaging itself in the cross border disputes, obstructing India’s infrastructure development at LAC and creating disputes like the ‘Doklam standoff’ between the forces in 2017. Chinese policy with India’s neighboring countries especially with Pakistan and recently with Nepal is another contentious issue. China is well aware of India’s growth and development and its potential in the field of space technology as well as IT and other sectors. Therefore, China has created anti-India sentiments among India’s neighboring countries. The current example of social, cultural, and the border dispute with Nepal is evident. For a long time, India had shared Roti-Beti relation with the Nepalese people however, under the influence of the Chinese hegemonic attitude Nepal’s Prime Minister KP Oli tried to establish hurdles in the relations of India and Nepal, eventually leading towards the tensed relation between India and China.
The Chinese dreams to become a superpower are by spreading economic imperialism. The road map of this imperialism got momentum in 2013 with OBOR to reach out to Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. The hidden agenda is to lure weaker nations and capture their resources. The pre-Covid–19 situation helps to understand the emergence of China as a global power. China not only adopted the silent policy but rather also adopted a Dual Strategic Policy of Governance where the state-own enterprise was also working under the government and political strategy was also shaped. Simultaneously, it helped China to understand the idea of becoming a superpower. They learned the rules of the game and used to strengthen their country which they have cleverly applied not only to imperialize and dominate India but other nations also. When China was allowed to join WTO in the early 2000s, no one had imagined the Chinese today’s growth and strategy. Initially, China avoided trade war with the Western countries and the US and moved slowly to capture the resources of these nations. To understand the silent policy of China and its imperialistic nature, one should look at the GDP growth of China. In 1980 China’s total GDP was under $90 billion but now it is over $ 12 trillion. No other country, in the world, has shown such enormous growth in such a short time. The western experts are concerned that if China was allowed in the current form, it could lead to the loss of Western civilization and also an existential question.
Indian strategy to counter Chinese military and economic aggression accelerated in 2014 after the Narendra Modi government took charge. India started countering Chinese strategy and planning on various fronts including the construction of roads and other infrastructure at LAC and economic front. Though, India tried hard to strengthen bilateral relations with China and other neighboring countries but China’s cold response and back-stabbing acts, on various occasions, compelled to change the strategy. India became a strategic partner with the US and maintained a good relationship with an old friend, Russia. The recent scuffle at the Galwan valley has given India a two-pronged chance. First, to block the economic expansion of China in India and secondly, the rise of national sentiment among the citizens that helped the government to take some stringent measures against China. To match the sentiments of Indian people and also the reports of security concerns raised by various agencies, the Indian government had banned 59 Chinese apps and also immediately stopped all the Chinese based machinery, equipment, chemicals, minerals, toys, etc. Furthermore, Prime Minister Modi has started an initiative of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’. The slogan for this initiative is ‘local for vocal. This initiative is to make India an economic superpower. It is focusing on the five areas of development: Economy, infrastructure, technology, demography, and demand. The policy intents to form the economy strong, helping the vulnerable, especially farmers, migrant workers, and daily wagers. With the rapid increase in the uncertainty of the pandemic, the world has realized the risk of over-dependence on Chinese products. It provided India an opportunity to deal domestically with the challenges thrown by the Coronavirus.
Therefore, it is very important to understand the strategic hegemony created by China and its emergence as a global power. It is equally important to analyze Chinese aggression particularly on the one hand concerning India, and on the other hand, India needs to consider China as its adversary. Certain objectives can help India understand the aggression of China towards it. Firstly, India needs to consider China as its adversary, have to know about their strengths, weaknesses, and their value system. Their aggression increased after they changed their value system. Earlier they followed the rule-based system, but now they follow the power-based system which is encouraging it to create itself as a global power. Secondly, the explicit strategy of Cooperation, Competition, and Confrontation needs to be adopted by the Indian government to overcome the imperialistic attitude of China. Thirdly, strengthening military powers will help India with becoming more self-sustaining. Lastly, to tackle China India needs to make a powerful economy which will reduce the chance of dependence on China.
(Gunika Gupta is an Intern at Academics4Nation. She is currently doing MA English from Delhi University.)